As some of us recall with a distinct mix of nostalgia and discomfort, the bar for peak Miami-ness was set impossibly high last year with a series of sculptures made out of Cheetos dust. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of ridiculous and over-the-top “art” to see this year, and it’s not all floating installations on super-yachts (although there is also that) or forlorn NFT projects ( … there is also a lot of that.)
The good news is that beyond the hyper-commercial fairs and awkward pop-up art-fashion collabs, visitors to Miami this week can also check out the local art scene, which is thriving year-round and not just when the all-black-clad art world denizens descend on its shores. Below is Hyperallergic’s guide to surviving — ehm, enjoying — Miami Art Week, with a few recommendations for art spaces and exhibitions that may not be on your radar. I hope you packed your sunscreen! 🌞
Art Basel Miami Beach
If Miami art fairs were characters in Succession, Art Basel Miami Beach would be Logan Roy, sitting at the head of the table and presiding authoritatively over his children. Just kidding, sort of, but if you thought previous iterations of this mammoth fair were already too big, labyrinthine, and exhausting, I feel it is my duty to warn you that this year’s edition is the largest yet. On the occasion of the fair’s 20th anniversary, more than 282 exhibitors from 38 countries are clunking down at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Expect pricey tickets, a lot of art on display that was sold weeks ago via PDF, and some highlights. Among them: Bayou Fever (1979), a series of 21 collages by Romare Bearden conceived as a set design for choreographer Alvin Ailey, presented by DC Moore Gallery.
Art Basel Miami Beach (artbasel.com)
1901 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach
December 1–2 (11 am–7 pm) and December 3 (11 am–6 pm)
$70 day pass, $55 reduced day pass for students and seniors
New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA)
I’ve always thought of NADA as a scene-y fair where New York and LA cool-kid dealers go mainly to gossip among themselves and maybe sell a couple of really wet paintings. This year, while scanning the list of exhibitors, I was delighted to discover spaces I didn’t know about, like Galería Piedras from Buenos Aires and the independent Miami-based publisher Dale Zine. Personally, I’m psyched to see Azadeh Elmizadeh’s massive new paintings at the booth of Franz Kaka, a Toronto gallery.
NADA Miami (newartdealers.org)
Ice Palace Studios, 1400 North Miami Avenue
November 30 (4 pm–7 pm), December 1 (11 am–7 pm), December 2 (11 am–7 pm), and December 3 (11 am–6 pm)
$55 day pass, $35 reduced day pass for students and seniors
Since 2013, Prizm has been the dedicated fair for African and African diasporic artists in Miami. For its 10th anniversary this year, more than 60 emerging and established galleries are part of an edition titled Vernacular À la Mode spread across two spaces: the main fair in the Miami Design District and a “Global/Borderless Caribbean Pavilion” at the Little Haiti Cultural Center. Notably, the worker-owned creative agency ZEAL will be hosting the second iteration of its annual pop-up show and program series Who Owns Black Art? focused on the topics of reparations and cultural capital. The line-up includes an “altar activation” at the Black woman-owned Dunns Josephine Hotel in Overtown and The Healing Garden for Black Creatives, a space offering free healing and wellness services at the Roots Collective Black House.
4220 North Miami Avenue (Main Fair) and the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 Northeast 58th Terrace (Global/Borderless Caribbean Pavilion)
November 29–December 11 (10 am–6 pm)
$15 day pass
Untitled is hands down the best fair from a location perspective, since it’s literally on the beach, which means you can easily plunge yourself into the ocean if it suddenly dawns on you that the entire art industry is a ridiculous farce. It’s also not a bad place to see art, all things considered: As much as any fair booth can be “curated” (not very much, really), exhibitors’ presentations are typically thoughtful and easy on the eyes. Check out Puerto Rican gallery Km 0.2’s booth, punnily titled “Real State of Mind,” with works by artists that offer a biting critique of real estate expansion and the tourism industry in the Caribbean, and a new sector called NEST with subsidized booths for emerging galleries and nonprofits.
Untitled Art Fair (untitledartfairs.com)
Ocean Drive and 12th Street
November 29–December 3 (11 am–7 pm)
$45 day pass, reduced day pass on-site for students, seniors, and Miami Beach residents with valid ID
Art Miami describes itself as “America’s foremost contemporary and modern art fair,” which frankly seems like a bit of a stretch. But if you want to see a sizable and eclectic variety of art from 20th-century canvases to NFTs in a less-stuffy environment than Art Basel, this show might be for you. You’ll have to sift through some duds (Koons, KAWS), but it’s worth it to see pieces by Belkis Ayón at Cernuda Arte’s booth and Tokyo-based gallery A Lighthouse Called Kanata’s presentation of works by contemporary Japanese artists.
Art Miami (artmiami.com)
One Herald Plaza, Northeast 14th Street & Biscayne Bay
November 29–December 3 (11 am–7 pm) and December 4 (11 am–6 pm)
$57.50 day pass, $40 reduced day pass for students and seniors
Exhibitions, Events, and More
Kathia St. Hilaire at the NSU Art Museum
South Florida native Kathia St. Hilaire, whose richly textured paintings blend Haitian iconography with scenes of family life, is getting her first solo museum exhibition at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) galleries in Fort Lauderdale. Born to Haitian parents, the artist channels her experiences of cultural assimilation in the United States through her artworks, which are built up in intricate layers of unlikely materials including fabric, tire skins, metal, and cosmetics that she associates with Caribbean diasporic identity. Not that you need a reason to get as far as possible from Miami Beach, but if you want another, this is it!
NSU Art Museum (nsuartmuseum.org)
1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
Miami Gallery Shows
You could go to the fairs and see a small selection of art from galleries outside Miami crammed into tiny booths … or you could just visit art galleries in Miami! Dotfifty.one Gallery has two group shows up now through January 20: a two-person exhibition of works by Marcos Castro and Gonzalo Fuenmayor and a solo show of Anastasia Samoylova’s photographs of Florida, portraying the “Sunshine State” in all its swampy, politically fraught, not-so-sunshiny contradictions.
Also in the mainland, KDR305 Gallery — housed in a 102-year-old cottage in Little Havana — is opening a show of works by Ivoirien-American artist Monsieur Zohore made out of Bounty paper towels. That’s on view starting Friday, December 2; the gallery is open by appointment.
Dotfifty.one Gallery (dotfifityone.com)
7275 NE 4th Avenue, Unit 101, Miami
1322 SW 11th Street, Miami
Ronny Quevedo at Locust Projects
Locust Projects is a Miami contemporary art scene mainstay and one of the city’s longest-running alternative art spaces. The unpretentious nonprofit presents exhibitions and projects that are actually worthy of the modifier “experimental” — and, IMO, much more deserving of a visit than the shiny but consistently meh Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) museum just a few blocks away. On view starting November 29 is artist Ecuador-born, Bronx-based artist Ronny Quevedo’s new site-specific installation ule ole allez, turning the gallery floor into an abstract soccer field that celebrates the tradition of fútbol and futsal; ahead of the opening, he engaged local players to “activate” the work using balls primed with chalk and ink. If the human rights abuses in Qatar have cast a shadow on the Men’s World Cup for you this year, Quevedo’s show is an inspiring alternative to honor the sport’s significance to so many cultures, specifically Miami’s Caribbean, Central, and South American communities.
Locust Projects (locustprojects.org)
3852 N Miami Ave, Miami
Projections of a Coral City Installation
Every night from 6 pm to 12 am starting Tuesday, November 29 through Saturday, December 3, the Miami-based underwater documentation group Coral Morphologic will project macroscopic images of corals from Miami and beyond on the exterior of the Knight Concert Hall at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. The haunting artwork asks us to imagine a future in which Miami’s infrastructure and architecture is “reclaimed by coral” if nothing is done to stop sea-level rise. Keep an ear out for an accompanying soundscape by Coral Morphologic and Nick León.
“Projections of a Coral City” (projectionsofacoralcity.com)
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami
Esquina de Abuela
Founded by Fabian Martinez as a tribute to his Cuban grandmother Zoila Caridad Guerra, Esquina de Abuela serves as a community space, cultural center, artist residency, and more in the neighborhood of Allapattah. Housed in the former home of Zoila, who moved into the nine-decades-old property in 1986, it now boasts works by 76 graffiti artists from around the world, including a custom spray-painted bus by El Salsa, a community leader and artist from Puerto Nuevo in Callao, Peru. During Art Week, the space will be open to the public from 12 pm to 6:30 pm.
Esquina de Abuela (esquinadeabuela.com)
2705 NW 22nd Ave, Miami
If you’re watching the Men’s World Cup, Café Americano — conveniently situated across from one of the fairs, Untitled — will be playing all the matches. On the mainland, you can watch them at Lost Boy on Flagler Street. Head to Nitin Bakery for “the best Dominican cake in Florida” as well as the iconic pastelitos pastries, empanadas, and yes, COFFEE — you’ll need it. If you’re in the Design District, don’t bother trying to get a reservation at the Mandolin, you probably should have thought about that two months ago; the outdoor space at Lagniappe is much more fun, anyway. In North Miami, Paradis Books & Bread has sourdough, wine, and “rad” books. And if you’ve over-indulged in margaritas and need late-night fuel, Sweet Liberty in Miami Beach is open until 5 am.